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Techplayers hurt at AGMs

WA’S technology players are experiencing the fallout from April’s crash as shareholders used the annual meeting season to take retribution or at least extract concessions from directors.

Bigshop.com.au founder Annette Oliver and her husband Luke Atkins were dumped from the Internet retailer’s board after a boardroom spill resulted in a dramatic vote at the company’s AGM.

AdultShop.com’s Malcolm Day and his associate Rod Smith had their stake in the sex company clipped as part of a performance deal.

There was also Surfboard.com which has battled with one of its co-founders and dumped board member, Kristine Condell, as well as reports of difficulties at MITC Corporate Pty Ltd which called in administrators to sort out a disagreement over financing with the company’s listed parent IPT Systems.

The WA scene, with a number of companies thought to be experiencing cash flow difficulties, reflects the sector’s trouble on a global level with the rate of technology stock collapses in the US doubling between October and November.

The situation is bad enough for regulators to place a high priority on the situation, particularly in WA which represents about one quarter of Australia’s listed technology companies.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission acting regional commissioner Michael Gething said technology companies were one of two key areas on his “radar scope”.

Mr Gething said Perth’s tech stocks would get special attention.

ASIC surveillance visits to companies have already prompted several stock exchange announcements.

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